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  1. #1
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    Help me with a new rear wheel

    Okay here we go. I have lurked for awhile, here is my first post. I began commuting to work 12 miles a day on my 25 year old 26" Specialized Hard Rock bike (which I love) about a month ago. With all of the recent use of my bike, the rear wheel has finally worn out. I weigh 280 lbs and load my panniers everyday with 10-15 lbs of books/papers/etc.

    I am debating between two options:

    Option #1: Buy a new or used wheel. What would you recommend?

    Option #2: Build my own wheel. I have done a bit of research (and bought "The Bicycle Wheel" by Brandt), here is what I have come up with. Let me know your thoughts:

    -Shimano hub (which model?)
    -Triple butted spokes (DT Alpine III?)
    -I have no idea about which rim to use.

    Thanks for all the great advise in advanced.

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    I would like to add I am looking for a wheel that is dependable. I do not want to "over build" my bike (i.e. porsche wheels on my VW). I have read that 36 spoked wheels are strong, and so I was leaning in that direction.

  3. #3
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    Either option can work. The second will likely end up being more expensive, unless you already own the necessary tools or can borrow them from someone.

    If you decide to build your own wheels, take a look at Velocity's Synergy OC rim (assuming it's wide enough to handle the tires you intend to use). The off-center drilling leads to more even spoke tension between the drive and non-drive sides. I used them when I built wheels for my touring bike and they've been working out very well for me. FYI, Damon Rinard's Spocalc spreadsheet will properly compute the necessary spoke lengths.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    The second will likely end up being more expensive, unless you already own the necessary tools or can borrow them from someone.
    I belong to a co-op bike shop, so I have access to all of the tools.

    If you decide to build your own wheels, take a look at Velocity's Synergy OC rim ... Damon Rinard's Spocalc spreadsheet will properly compute the necessary spoke lengths.
    Thanks, I will look into both of these.

  5. #5
    Senior Member maidenfan's Avatar
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    Whats your budget man? On the cheap, for something bombproof I'd do something like a 36 spoke Sun Rhyno lite rim ($20-30) and a tiagra - deore - SLX range hub ($20-40). If you have a little more money you can upgrade to an XT range hub, but it really isnt necessary. Definately hit the "closeouts" on all the websites - I just picked up a shimano xt 36 spoke hub for $25 on Speedgoat.com.
    "Others don't understand because I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs." Alexandr Karelin - the most dominating Greco-Roman wrestler - ever

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    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Since this is a 26" commuter you don't have to spend a lot. Butted spokes have more "windup" than straight guage so take care to avoid twisting the spokes. Since we both have read Jobst's book you know the advantage of using brass nipples. I would think Deore or better on the hub. You're going 36 spokes so the rim doesn't have to be special either. Just make sure the inner width is wide enough for your tires. It seems OEM's want to put too narrow a rim on everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    Butted spokes have more "windup" than straight guage so take care to avoid twisting the spokes.
    Would I be better of with straight gauge? I am shooting for bomb-proof.

    Since we both have read Jobst's book you know the advantage of using brass nipples.
    I am definitely going with brass nipples.

    Thanks.

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    [QUOTE=maidenfan;14261165]Whats your budget man? On the cheap, for something bombproof I'd do something like a 36 spoke Sun Rhyno lite rim [Quote]

    In looking this up, I found this:

    Product Description
    Sun Rhyno Lite BMX, mountain, and tandem rims.
    Triple-box construction
    TH: Triple Hollow
    Made out of 6061-T6 aluminum
    Pinned
    ABT: Advanced Brake Track, rim sidewalls are brushed for improved braking performance
    Feature "ABT" brushed brake tracks for consistent braking
    Item Specifications
    Color Black/Silver
    Weight 565g
    Width 27.5mm
    Intended Use Mountain
    Hub Drilling 36spokes
    Rim Depth 16mm
    Brake Compatibility Rim Brake
    Manufacturer Spec ERD 548mm
    Valve Presta
    ISO Diameter 559 / 26" mtn
    Valve Length Short 32-40mm
    Wheel Size 26"
    Tire Type Clincher


    If my math is correct Width of 27.5mm is about 1.08 inches. My current (new) tires are 26" x 1.75". Will this work or do I need a different width rim? Does this rim come in different widths?

    I just picked up a shimano xt 36 spoke hub for $25 on Speedgoat.com.
    Very Nice!

  9. #9
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    That rim will work fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  10. #10
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    A couple things we need to know before thinking about buying a finished wheel or parts to build a wheel:

    1. What is the axle width over lock nuts (OLN) on the rear? Is it 130mm? or is it 126mm?

    2. What type of shifting you do have? Indexed 6 speed? 7 speed? Which maker? shimano or suntour?

    If you have a 1987 Hard Rock, it may have Sanshin hubs, Suntour 6 speed accushift. And that means there isn't shifting compatibility with Shimano hubs or freewheels. Most likely, you're going to pay quite a bit to upgrade your bike, and not just for the wheel, but for new shifters, new rim, new hubs, etc.

    If I were you, I'd probably check the rear hub and if it's still good and not pitted on the cones or cups, I'd buy new 14g stainless spokes and a medium low end rim like the Araya TM-840F (24.2mm) with the same hole count as your hub and rebuild the wheel. For a 1.75 inch tire width, you can run narrower 26 inch rims.
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    When you say it has worn out, it this the rim, or the hub, or both.

    If just the rim, why not just replace it with a new one; the Sun Rhyno Lite is a nice choice.

    For spokes, triple butted is an overkill, and would probably be too light weight for your needs, double butted would be fine.

    If it's the hub which has worn out, you may have issues with getting spares, follow gyozadude's advice for sizing / makes

  12. #12
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    I missed the fact that it's probably a 6 speed freewheel. I found the specs for a 1987 but it doesn't say what the dropout width is. Probably need to change the hub you bought as gyozadude is right. You'd have to change too many componets to utilize a freehub. We need to go back to square one and find out exactly what is worn out.

  13. #13
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    I have a couple of older bike frames that I like. I have had them updated by having the rear dropouts spread to 135mm so I can use standard mtn bike hubs. I have also converted over the years from freewheel hubs to freehubs, from 5 spd freewheels to 9 spd. clusters and to indexed shifting. I am in a similar place to you. My weight is about 265. While I no longer commute to work on a bike due to a suicidal bridge crossing, I still like to tour with a loaded bike. In the distant past I used Super Champion rims. Donít worry. They are long since out of production, but the section height was shallow enough that they really needed 48 spokes for heavy duty applications, like tandems, to fully stabilize the rim. I built a couple of pairs of wheels with Rhyno Lite rims in 700c and 26Ē. They are good, solid rims, but the section height isnít that great and they rely on mass instead of geometry. Good but heavy.

    More recently I have finally discovered Velocity rims. In 26Ē the Aeorheat seems to have, what to me, seems to be the best combination of geometry, weight and strength. I built a set of 40 hole wheels and toured with them. No wheel problems. For commuting I would probably go with Shimano Deore XT or LX hubs, 36 hole, straight or butted spokes, it really doesnít matter much, and the Aeorheat rim. Then you can decide on tires. That is a whole discussion by itself.

  14. #14
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
    For spokes, triple butted is an overkill, and would probably be too light weight for your needs, double butted would be fine.
    Triple butted are overkill for almost any built outside of a low-count XC race, or a DH race wheel; but they're far from lightweight.
    DT Alpine III spokes use a typical 14/15 double butted structure from the threads through the shaft, and then at the shoulder it beefs out to 13ga (2.3mm) for a tight fit in the flange to avoid rattle space and repeated fatigue at the bend.
    They're also expensive. <-- That being said, I'm a cheap-o and build all my wheels with DT Swiss Champion 2.0 or 1.8 straight gauge spokes; whatever I can get for 40 - 45 cents/ea.
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    Senior Member caphits's Avatar
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    Double butted spokes are what you want. Strait gauge spokes suck.
    Cap-hits, not Caf-its

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    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caphits View Post
    Double butted spokes are what you want. Strait gauge spokes suck.
    Good, solid reasoning. Care to explain why straight gauge spokes suck?

    I'm not a big fan of double butted spokes. I build with straight gauge because I build exclusively singlespeed wheels that I know I'm going to be cranking a lot of lateral force on as I stand and rock the bike on steep climbs. Straight gauge spokes create a build with less flex and forgiveness, so if you're looking for something to help dampen road chatter, they're not it. Instead, I rely on higher volume tires (32mm) to smooth out the ride.
    Even when I rode geared bikes I built with straight gauge. In countless tens of thousands of miles, probably even reaching the 6-figure mileage range when you add up all my riding over the decades, I've broken a grand total of 2 spokes (which I can't attribute to something specific like an accident or flubbing a landing after hucking off a loading dock.)

    Aside from being heavy and relatively inelastic by comparison, what's wrong with straight gauge?
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  17. #17
    Senior Member maidenfan's Avatar
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    Here you go man - I'm not pushing speedgoat, but they have a good selection of 26" rims on sale now - might have something you like

    http://www.speedgoat.com/Catalog.aspx/Browse?Cat=C152
    "Others don't understand because I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs." Alexandr Karelin - the most dominating Greco-Roman wrestler - ever

  18. #18
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Good, solid reasoning. Care to explain why straight gauge spokes suck?

    I'm not a big fan of double butted spokes. I build with straight gauge because I build exclusively singlespeed wheels that I know I'm going to be cranking a lot of lateral force on as I stand and rock the bike on steep climbs. Straight gauge spokes create a build with less flex and forgiveness, so if you're looking for something to help dampen road chatter, they're not it. Instead, I rely on higher volume tires (32mm) to smooth out the ride.
    Even when I rode geared bikes I built with straight gauge. In countless tens of thousands of miles, probably even reaching the 6-figure mileage range when you add up all my riding over the decades, I've broken a grand total of 2 spokes (which I can't attribute to something specific like an accident or flubbing a landing after hucking off a loading dock.)

    Aside from being heavy and relatively inelastic by comparison, what's wrong with straight gauge?
    Thanks for biting on that one first Clifton. I was going to respond but thought better of it. I've been building and riding with straight gauge for decades. Straight spokes work fine at half the cost per spoke of butted and last just as long when properly used. So I'm curious why they suck. Maybe I can learn something here.
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    I am out of town this weekend, so I cannot measure the axle, but I do know that I have all Shimano components with a six speed shifter. Also, the axle inside the hub is deeply pitted again (we have put it on a lathe once to smooth out the pitting).

    Thanks for all the great information.

  20. #20
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by campingnut View Post
    I am out of town this weekend, so I cannot measure the axle, but I do know that I have all Shimano components with a six speed shifter. Also, the axle inside the hub is deeply pitted again (we have put it on a lathe once to smooth out the pitting).

    Thanks for all the great information.
    6spd rear cluster means you'll (most likely) have 126mm frame spacing.
    If you're having to machine things out on the axle, then it's time to replace the entire setup, not just the rim. Not sure if you've got a cassette or freewheel on there, but if it's a freewheel you can still get hubs at Harris Cyclery. They've got some spiffy Suzue Classicas, and some less expensive Quando hubs. Velo Orange also makes a 126mm freewheel hub, and I stand behind their products 100% based on their house-brand stuff I've been pounding on for a couple years.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Good, solid reasoning. Care to explain why straight gauge spokes suck?
    I suspect the poster was paraphrasing St. Sheldon's opinion on spokes:

    Double-butted spokes are thicker at the ends than in the middle. The most popular diameters are 2.0/1.8/2.0 mm (also known as 14/15 gauge) and 1.8/1.6/1.8 (15/16 gauge).

    Double-butted spokes do more than save weight. The thick ends make them as strong in the highly-stressed areas as straight-gauge spokes of the same thickness, but the thinner middle sections make the spokes effectively more elastic, allowing them to stretch (temporarily) more than thicker spokes.

    As a result, when the wheel is subjected to sharp localized stresses, the most heavily-stressed spokes can elongate enough to shift some of the stress to adjoining spokes. This is particularly desirable when the limiting factor is how much stress the rim can withstand without cracking around the spoke holes.
    Which sounds plausible, though I can't say I've ever noticed much difference between double-butted and straight gauge spokes myself.

  22. #22
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    After reading everyones advise, I went down to the LBS and ordered a Shimano XT 36-hole hub, double-butted spokes, brass nipples, and a Sun Rhyno lite rim. Everything should arrive the end of next week. I will update once I get the wheel built; my first! Thanks for all the great advise.

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